By far, the most talked-about sequence in Avengers: Endgame is the “Portals” scene, where Steve Rogers finds himself facing Thanos and his entire army alone until help arrives. Audiences worldwide were elated by this scene, which has been captured several dozen times online.
What truly made this scene such a hit with audiences was the work of composer Alan Silvestri, who returned from The Avengers. The track in question, “Portals,” instantly connected with fans with its slow build-up and incorporation of the original Avengers theme.
Silvestri explained the creative process for “Portals” and alternatives of the track that never happened in a new interview.
PORTALS STARTED BIG AND LOUD
Speaking on The Empire Film Podcast about his career as a composer, Alan Silvestri was asked about the process of composing the “Portals” track from Avengers: Endgame.
Silvestri noted that this track had “a very evolutionary path,” that he and the filmmakers knew that this sequence was all about “getting the team back together,” and the score had to reflect that:
“Portals had a very evolutionary path. There were things that were tried and then when the filmmakers wanted to go in different directions, they always knew this is based on me hearing the filmmakers talk about that sequence. They always knew that this had to be something really special, and it had to really capture this amazing feeling in the film. This was getting the team back together, this is what the whole thing was about the whole Avengers event.”
Once Silvestri had found his footing, the track “kinda did itself.” Still, Music editor Steve Durkee placed a previous mockup from Silvestri into the opening of the sequence:
“So, things were tried, and then we wound up actually getting, quite a ways down the road, and I believe it was our music editor, Steve Durkee, who put a mock-up of something I had done early on into the opening of that sequence, where the Wakandans are coming out, and Cap 'all is lost' and he's getting this transmission, and we all knew it when we saw it, that that's what has to happen here, and then I just started constructing that whole sequence, and it kinda did itself.”
Other versions of the sequence were planned, which would have started with “all the French horns playing” and “choirs singing it,” but the duo instead decided to begin the track with a solo trumpet:
“We had all kinds of versions that I had prepared for the orchestra, we had all the French horns playing, you know, the 'Portals' [mimics French horns] and then we had choirs singing it, and all this, and then it's like 'Wait a second, there's this other version, it's a solo trumpet. Here's that solo trumpet thing again,' right? And it's like completely the opposite direction, we have this amazing reveal from the mist of hope and the Wakandans coming to save the day, and it's a solo trumpet.”
Silvestri found it appropriate, as he saw the portals as a “construct” with the score building with each portal appearing until it cuts off to let Rogers finish uttering his iconic phrase:
“You look at the portals as a construct, it just builds and builds, and the keys changing, and the orchestration is building and we kinda, up to that moment, where Cap says 'Avengers' and then, of course, we're not going near the next line, he gets that all on his own.”
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SOLO TRUMPET WAS GOOD CHOICE
Those French horns and the singing choir are still very much present in “Portals,” but the lone trumpet at the beginning really is a fantastic little hook; it was a great decision to keep that in. It's likely similar to the same mock-up Silvestri mentioned being presented with by Durkee.
Considering Avengers 5 is still a ways off from even entering development, it'll be interesting to see if Marvel Studios brings Silvestri back or if someone else will differentiate their work from the last saga of films. Although, Marvel Studios already did that when they replaced Silvestri on Avengers: Age of Ultron with Brian Tyler.
So, hopefully, Silvestri sticks around for the sequel and provides a whole new theme for the team to fit this new era.